GSE opens gallery–hosts student art exhibit

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What should the GSE do with large expanses of white walls in the new temporary location? An art show, of course! Dean Hitz and his assistant, Susan Shortridge put together a partnership for a year-long project with the art department at Beaverton’s Southridge High School. Through summer of 2017, the GSE will display Southridge student artwork in two long GSE corridors.

Southridge visual arts teacher Jessica Pluhar has curated the first of three shows that feature works by 11th- and 12th-grade International Baccalaureate art students. Her students explored a variety of media and techniques, including drawing, painting, printmaking, photography, and paper cutting. The 11th-grade students worked on specific projects assigned by Pluhar, and 12th-grade students submitted projects that will become part of their portfolios. Each piece is a concept that is pertinent to the artist.

The GSE faculty and staff are excited to be able to enjoy these student creations that are accessible to visitors as well. “Through this project, we join our school district partners in creating an environment for learning and for celebrating the arts,” said Dean Hitz, who is also delighted to be decorating the walls and making the space more aesthetically pleasing.

An opening celebration for the first show was held November 17 in the dean’s conference room, where students, parents, and other guests convened for refreshments and recognition.

Opening celebration visitors included new Southridge Principal David Nieslanic. “Jessica’s work with students is really phenomenal,” he said. He acknowledged how important it is for students to have the chance to show their work outside their school district and for them to get an opportunity to see what’s possible beyond their school building.

Also in attendance was preservice teacher Shelbi Schroeder, who is doing her practicum this school year in the Southridge visual arts classroom. “This is a great experience for the students,” she said. “It’s a lot of work, but it’s truly worth it, and I’m glad I got to see it.”

Leinani Fernandez, a senior, has two pieces in the show. “Fish Girl,” a triptych in gouache and ink, and “Self-Portrait with Laua’e,” an acrylic on wood, are wonderful examples of a young artist’s exploration of self. “I was really excited for this show,” she said. “You don’t get a chance to show your work very often.” Fernandez plans to study art next year in college.

Another very new artist, John Yang, submitted a piece made with cut paper entitled “Puppets,” his first artwork ever. The dramatic black-and-white work features six figures compressed by black space, creating a profound impact that surprised even the artist.

The show will remain up for GSE visitors through January 17 and then will be replaced by two more shows in spring and summer. Viewing hours are the same as GSE building hours, 8am–8pm.

  • WINTER SHOW: November 10, 2016–January 17, 2017
  • SPRING SHOW: January 30, 2017–May 12, 2017
  • SUMMER SHOW: May 12, 2017–September 15, 2017
  • EXHIBIT HOURS M–F 8am to 8pm

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